Although running backs Algernon Brown, Nate Carter and Adam Hine didn’t get optimal playing time last season, they will be expected to carry a larger load with former starter Jamaal Williams’ shocking departure. Here’s a quick look at what Brown, Carter and Hine are expected to bring to the table as they attempt to make a bigger impact for the Cougars in 2015.
Algernon Brown came out of fall practice listed as the team’s starting running back and is expected to be the go-to guy in the Cougars’ ground game. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound junior has shown a knack for bowling over opponents, as seen when he ran through three defenders on a 22-yard touchdown catch against Cal in 2014. He finished his sophomore year with 463 yards and a touchdown reception while splitting time with Paul Lasike to help fill in for an injured Williams.
Nate Carter showcased flashes of both speed and agility in 2014, most notably when he averaged 12.4 yards per carry in a 35-42 loss to Nevada. He rushed for a career-high 116 yards and a touchdown on what was his largest workload against Savannah State last season. At 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, the senior is currently listed as BYU’s second running back.
Hine was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as the Kickoff Returner Performer of the Week last September for his 99-yard kickoff return touchdown against Virginia. His long return helped stretch the Cougars’ lead to 41-26 in the fourth quarter at a critical moment when Cavaliers seemed to be closing in on tying the game.
Although Adam Hine has made most of his career highlights as the Cougars’ kick returner, the senior back is expected to have an increased offensive role in addition to his return duties this season. Hine racked up 154 yards on 40 carries in 2014, adding 43 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. At 6-foot-1 and 216 pounds, Hine possesses all the elements of a versatile third-down back with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. As long as he can avoid the type of injuries that have plagued him throughout his BYU career, a backfield of Hine and senior quarterback Taysom Hill should prove a nightmare for defenses.
“Algie and Adam and Nate have stepped up and they’re very capable backs,” Hill told reporters after a recent fall practice. “We’ll be very capable of running the football this year.”
The abilities of the three running backs will give the Cougars the tools they need to win games. The question is whether their noteworthy numbers and performances from the 2014 season will translate with an increased workload this year.